Thursday, June 5, 2008


The water was surprisingly calm; shimmering, crystal clear, and about as still as you could want. There wasn't a spot of land as far as the eye could see. The sky was nearly cloudless, strikingly blue, and spotted with soaring, circling gulls. This seemed as good a time as any for Peter to reflect on his life thus far.

He'd made some mistakes, but then, what human hasn't. He tried to do the things he knew he was supposed to do: help those in need, support himself with a decent job, and not find his way into incarceration. But Peter stumbled a time or two, and, as bad luck would have it, it was a time just like this... perhaps the biggest stumble of all, that Peter found himself wrapped up into right now.

He'd heard from friends that there was to be a big job opportunity; nothing difficult, but most assuredly well-paying, and that was the very type Peter had been on the hunt for. So he met the man in charge, exchanged pleasantries, and joined the crew. But from the get go, he had serious problems with nearly everyone else involved. It was, much to his own chagrin, his very own big mouth that got him into trouble the most often. He had a quick wit, a sharp tongue, and a nasty streak that, more often than not, managed to get him an ass-kicking. And then, the problems really started to pile up.

Peter had discovered the crew's alcohol supply. He never let on to anyone else that he'd been snooping around and sticking his curiosity into places it really shouldn't have been, and there it was: barrels of the stuff. So Peter helped himself. And over a fortnight, he managed to drain half of the stash into his own greedy gut. In fact, Peter became so drunk and utterly useless, it was only a matter of time before certain members of the crew discovered him lying, bloated to the rafters, snoring between the last two mostly-full barrels. Needless to say, they were far from impressed.

So, as Peter pondered his own mortality, and danced over his past indiscretions, he struggled to wipe his perspiring brow, but, alas, his hands were lashed. Peter took another cursory glance over the plank into the sparkling sea below, inhaled deeply the salty air, and dreamed, for a second, of a life other than that of a smarmy, worthless, pirate. And then, without warning, the sharpened tip of a rapier coaxed him into the vast expanse of the deep below.

The End

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Hannah and Ashley walked up the grassy hill from the copse of trees where the service was held. They had a huge awning covering the crowd; very floral, with a black and white canopy. It rained pretty steadily most of the afternoon, but that didn't stay the gathered mourners; nearly everyone from Builtmore High, friends, family... seemingly the entire town. Grant and Tank (one Terry Franklin) were well-liked upper-classmen, popular with everyone, Valedictorians, and each members of the school football team... but none of this mattered when they were struck head-on by a pack of drunken college Frat boys. Perhaps the most distasteful icing on the already pain-filled cake was the despicable fact that no one in the offender's vehicle was killed. Yeah, a few superficial wounds and one broken wrist, but none the worse for wear. None killed like the two innocent boys from Hannah and Ashley's high school. None receiving a damp, agonizing funeral service like Tank and Grant. The two girls continued to plod up the soggy hill toward their car.

"I have seen some shitty, gut-wrenching things in my life," Ashley began as she shook out her jacket and opened the driver's side door, "But this was almost too much."

Hannah sighed, held back another threatening of tears, and climbed into the car. "Tell me about it. I think I cried more today than I ever have before. I ache all over."

"I'd love to go grab a cup of Starbucks and just chill... you feel up to it?" Ashley asked with more of a brightness to her face than she'd had all day.

"Ya know, I have to say that sounds a whole lot better than hanging out at the banquet hall fucking sobbing some more with everyone else. Let's go."

Ashley pulled out of the line of cars parked all along the grassy knoll and drove up the dark asphalt to the main roads. Hannah opened the window, reached out, and snatched the red flag from the antenna. The reached Broadmoor, talked very little, and made it to Starbucks in the quietest and emptiest ten minutes either could remember. They walked in, found it to pretty well deserted for a Saturday afternoon, and ordered their big mugs of coffee: black.

"Did you know that I went to elementary school with Grant?" Hannah inquired as she sipped her hot coffee.

"No, I guess I didn't," Ashley replied as she absentmindedly stirred her coffee, adding nothing to it, "You both went to Baymont El, then?"

"Yeah. We actually had Kindergarten together, and every class up till fifth grade, then he went off to Jefferson Middle and I... and you, went to Harrison."

Ashley nodded, "Mm hmm... I never really met him until we had home room together in ninth. But right away I loved him... well, you know: as a person."

Hannah smiled. She knew because she felt the exact same way.

Tank came along in tenth grade, but he fell into pace with the group as though he'd always been there. In a way, he was: Grant had known him since Junior high, then Tank had to move due to some year-long military action his father was involved in. When he came back, it was almost as though he'd never left. Ashley and Hannah instantly became best friends with him, and Grant rounded out the foursome. They were close, almost close enough to be coupled off and live happily ever after... but they just remained best friends, and that was all they needed.

"It just sucks that we can't bring them back, just for a minute... you know, to say goodbye," Hannah said wiping away a wayward tear.

Ashley stared at her and a look of sheer knowing splayed across her face, "I think we can do that."

Hannah did a double take and actually snapped her head back a little, "What the hell are you talking about, I was just saying, you know, that typical sorrow bullshit everyone..."

"We can do it!" Ashley said cutting her off, "My aunt is a practicing witch. Don't laugh, I'm serious!"

Hannah laughed out load, and swiped at a new set of fresh tears that spilled down her cheeks more to do with her new found hysteria than her sadness, "That might just be the stupidest thing I have ever heard!"

"Laugh all you want, but if you want one last moment to say goodbye to our best friends, all we need is my Aunt and her hundred-year old Ouija board!"

Hannah really didn't need any more persuasion than that, and fifteen minutes later the two were in the car and heading down the fifty-mile drive to Ashley's Aunt's house in Sandsfield.


They arrived. Ashley's Aunt was surprisingly accepting, and she brought them inside with little hesitation, more for the late hour than the task at hand. The Ouija board was brought out and the three gathered around it in the inky blackness pierced only by three black candles. A few incantations and speeches later, they clasped their hands over the wooden guide and let it lead them to wherever it intended. The trio had an evening the leaked into the early morning spelling words, sharing tears, and telling the spirits their final farewells. Come four a.m., they had exhausted their other-worldly powers, and the Ouija board no longer spoke to them, but they all felt accomplished and far better emotionally then they had in the past week. Ashley and Hannah thanked Ashley's Aunt, and they drove home, weary but fulfilled and excited.

Back at Hannah's, they dropped more tired than they'd ever been into her bed, and drifted off to sleep. They dreamt about friendships, lost lives, happy times, wonderful moments, and the past. As they peacefully slept, two happy and gentle spirits glided into the room and caressed each of the saddened but spiritually awakened girls. On each, left as a permanent reminder, was a tiny heart-shaped 'birth-mark' directly behind their right ears. Though it would take years for either to find the mark, it would bring forth memories that would last a lifetime.

Monday, June 2, 2008


It didn't make a damn bit of difference that he'd gotten both ropes off of his ankles and the gag free of his mouth, Eric Parker was still hopelessly lost and trapped somewhere in complete and total darkness. He was sitting on some kind of a mat, that was something he was certain of. It felt vaguely familiar; it had the rough, plastic feel of the warn Gym mats he'd spent so much time on while wrestling in high school. He could sit, and did. That was a nice change from moments ago, when his feet were still lashed, when he could barely move at all. Luckily, Eric had been given the gift (ha ha) of disproportionately small feet, and once his shoes were slipped off, he was easily free of the ropes. Now, despite his currently knotted wrists, at least Eric was able to move. And now, he had to figure out where he was.

Once off the mat, as carefully and tenuous as a baby taking its first steps, Eric realized that the floor was damp to the point of nearly being wet. It was soggy and really rather tepid to the touch, and rose over his toes just to the top of his feet. The fluid felt as much like water as milk does; it was slightly viscous, almost creamy, and trickled as though it had an ebb to it. Eric crouched, lowered his head as far as it would go, and smelled the liquid. It definitely had a musty aroma, fortunately not too cloying, but very much of oldness and stale age. He didn't dare get any closer, who knew what this shit might actually be. Luckily, at least for now, his feet felt normal.

Though he wanted to call out just to get a better idea of how big an area this was, he restrained himself and continued to cautiously plod forward. With easy steps and a tip-toe to his gait, Eric smartly only dinged a solid object jutting out from the ground. He ran his foot up the side only about a couple of inches and thought maybe it felt like stone. It wasn't cold, like a piece of rock ought to be, but it was dry and a bit tacky. He wanted to get a better idea of what he was dealing with and, with any luck, find a sharpened spot to sever his wrist ties. He scooted up to the stone, backed into it slowly, and ran his fingers up and down the piece with slight question. It felt as though it could, quite possibly, be marble. But that made no sense at all! Regardless, it did seem to have a point, or more like a series of little conical prongs, and that was a great thing. He angled his arms above what should have been a single point, bent his back into position, and just as quickly lost his balance. The sharpened protrusion slid down his arm as Eric heard a loud pop. His wrist restraints hung up on the rock and wrenched his shoulder with a jolt of pain fierce enough to bring tears.

Eric winced, let out a dull cry, and scrambled clumsily to his feet. He slid, almost fell, and managed to wedge his back against the stone. Somehow, by the grace of God, when he went down the first time and his ropes caught, they managed to fray just enough for him to tug and loosen enough of the knot to let his arms free. The white-hot arc of searing agony that lanced through Eric's shoulder was excruciating, but at least his hands were free. Though he still couldn't see, he could feel a warm rivulet of fluid trickle down his arm and knew without a doubt that it was blood, and by the feel of it, quite a bit. Eric had managed to gash open his left wrist from palm to his upper arm and it was doing a fine job of gurgling out blood with every beat of his heart.

Eric quickly tore off his shirt and tightly wrapped up his arm. He could still hear plops of blood hitting the foul liquid below. And it was right then that Eric heard a sound that was at once deafening and baritone, thunderous and rumbling all at the same time. Coupled with the ear-splitting noise was an odor of putrescence and decay like nothing Eric had ever smelled in his life; it was garbage, it was rotted carcass, it was gamy, and it was horrible. Eric gagged, went momentarily woozy, and was thrown off balance by, what? An earthquake? Something below Eric's feet shifted and gave way as though a giant carpet was being yanked out from beneath him. And then, that very floor on which he was just seconds ago standing, fell upon him like a soggy, muscular mass. It hammered him to the moist ground and pressed him into it. Suddenly, Eric could see some kind of light, quite possibly the last he'd ever be blinded by, as the walls split open. He witnessed a horrid shape, just beyond the precipice, that could only be described as a massive hand. Eric's last image that his mind would register, just as he was being smashed forcefully into several more of those very same stones he'd cut himself on just moment ago, was a monstrous finger coming straight for him.

The End

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Denny sat motionless in traffic inhaling exhaust fumes and wringing his hands over the steering wheel as though it were someone's neck. It never failed: regardless of what time he left for work -6 am, 5:45 (sometimes even FIVE!)- he still always managed to get wedged in a dead-stopped mass of cars. What was worse was that there were no alternative routes. The only other one that was even remotely less time consuming had been dug up in construction for months. So, for Denny, this was absolutely the only way to go.

He glanced at the stereo clock and realized with typical panic that he'd only fifteen more minutes to make it to work and was easily thirty minutes away even if the cars had been moving. A bead of sweat trickled down Denny's back and was immediately followed by a cold shiver that rattled his very being. Denny's boss, one Mr. Hanrihar, was really going to be pissed off.

Denny worked at CycloTech downtown. It was a lab, of sorts, though Denny had no idea what it was they did exactly. Denny's job was to park his butt behind his numerous computer monitors and hard drives and make absolute sure that each and every program was running perfectly. His office -if you could really call it that- was a dank, poorly lit and even less insulated room in the basement of CycloTech tucked as far back as humanly possible in respect to everything else. Four sets of fluorescent bulbs hummed ceaselessly from the ceiling as one small duct for heat belched as much as it could into the room. No matter; whether it was August or January, it was always a balmy 48 degrees in his cramped little room. Denny loathed everything about it from the long hours (often ten or more a day, every day), to the few people who allowed him to step out for fifteen minutes every hour to pee or shovel some food into his mouth. The only thing keeping him there was his ridiculous paychecks. See, Denny was the only one who really understood the programming and the only person who could keep it from crashing. Therefor, he was bringing home roughly 35 hundred a week. And since he only had a cat to go home to, that was pretty sweet. But, even after just moving into a swank new house much closer to the lab, he was almost never home and always late. And this, was the problem.

Mr. Hanrihar was the lab tech and, consequently, Denny's boss. He ran the lab so he expected Denny to be there on time every day. While Denny was off shift, he had a program that could, potentially, keep the main programs running problem free for up to twelve hours. But to Mr. Hanrihar, this made no difference. If Denny wasn't in his chair by the time the system did its morning refresher boot at eight, Mr. Hanrihar lost all ability to be even remotely civil and began to go off on his regular tirade. Often times, this angry fit of misplaced rage turned violent. Denny had had to avoid chairs, fists, and even a shoved-over locker. Fortunately he was only slightly injured a handful of times and Denny wasn't about to go blabbing about it. This was Denny's daily routine, no matter what.

Traffic finally showed signs of moving, and Denny let out an audible sight. He rubbed his neck, shuffled through a few radio stations from his steering wheel controls, and got back up to highway speed. Within twenty minutes, Denny eased into his parking space, nabbed his briefcase, and headed for the guarded doors.

Earlier Denny had spent forty-five minutes on the phone with his nervous, worry wart of a mother who had, with emotional persistence, made Denny promise that he would, today, without fail, finally do something about his stressful job situation. She just knew it was killing him. Denny reluctantly agreed, promised out loud several times to his mom, and told her he loved her. He knew, if was going to do what he wanted to do, it may be for the last time.

Denny slid his badge through the safety system, passed through the air-locked doors, and proceeded to make his way to the elevator that would sally him to his office. Denny was almost surprised that Mr. Hanrihar hadn't encountered him yet with his barbaric gusto of a pissy personality, and just as the elevator doors closed for what could be the first time ever with just Denny as a passenger, a beefy mitt snatched the doors back open. Mr. Hanrihar sidled into the car with a shit-eating grin splayed all over his face. The doors slid shut.


Two minutes later, just as always, the elevators doors chimed open at the 'B' floor, and out stepped Denny. Seconds later, the bloodied and shocked form of Mr. Hanrihar flopped to the concrete walkway with a thud like a giant sack of wet potatoes. Jutting from the ear of Denny's boss was a chef's knife, about eight inches long, in as far as the handle. Denny stepped daintily over the corpse, adjusted his tie, and made his way to his little office.

"Sorry, sir. I don't have time for this."